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Welcome to rachelsays... The blog of Rachel Lewis, containing my thoughts and musings on illustration, design, fashion, music, cakey-bakey goodness, culture and things that I generally find cool. There's also a good chance my own illustration work will pop up on here.

All work on this blog is copyright to me unless I state that it isn't. Obviously. Don't do stealing, kids.

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Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Immersion 2010: Session 5

Last week we had a really good session actually. It was called 'Nuts and Bolts' and was focused on the specifics of being self-employed/starting a business. Talking about the differences between Sole Traders, Partners, Limited Companies (which I learned in Business Studies GCSE but it's always nice to have a reminder) and making us think about ourselves as a business and we would probably be. I'm definitely of the Sole Trader/Freelancer kind, backed up by being a normal employee for the foreseeable future. Being a normal is good for the bank balance but bad for my lifestyle, I think.

So we had Magnus Long from Viable London back in talking about his route to where he is now, and how some of it he spent as an employee and then taking the decision to form a partnership, then a limited company, and the pros and cons of each.

He said a really nice quote - "It's better to be at the bottom of a ladder you want to climb, instead of halfway up one you don't." Which I quite like.

He also told us about Hidden Art, which I'd never heard about but seems really interesting and useful maybe in the future.

"Hidden Art helps designer-makers and designers transform their passion into products.

We do this through promoting and supporting members to place their products both nationally and internationally through international trade fairs, the Hidden Art E-Shop, global press coverage, Hidden Art Awards and our annual pre-Christmas Open Studios event." It's about £50 a year; I think probably more useful to product designers and designer-makers, that is, people with physical things to sell. I don't really have any of that yet.

We then were given a talk by Be Kaylor-Blake from Futureheads Recruitment, who gave us advice on job hunting through recruitment agencies, what to do, what to expect, that kind of thing. I'd always thought recruitment agencies were a really good idea but according to Be, the process in London/Uk as a whole is quite bad - and other people had bad experiences too. Which was interesting to know, I had assumed they were a good route to go down but maybe not. She said it only worked if there was a good relationship between you and the agency, you had a strong relationship with someone in the team and that it was a two way street, you had to work on it.

Lastly there was Catherin Gregg, who was really nice and has a great company called Make:Good, who "are an architecture and design company working to make public buildings and spaces more friendly and enjoyable places to be. More than this; we empower the very people who use these spaces to be at the heart of delivering the transformations." She had good advice as well, simple but valuable things like, you need to offer things that people actually want, and to have a distinction between yourself and your work. It's ok to sleep! I know I have guilt over being tired a lot and thinking 'but I must work 16 hour days to make it' and actually... no you don't. Chill. Sleep. Sleep is nice. Mmm.

In the evening, we had a panel session with Sue Odell, who does casting, styling, production, and is a general whirlwind of energy and amazingness - the stories she had! And also Gail Gallie, who works in marketing/strategy, and again had a really interesting background and seems to have done amazing stuff.

Sue Odell has shot the images for so many ads that I like -

That toblerone one is great.

She's had such an interesting life - and the one thing that came through clearest is she never set out to be any of the titles she puts on her career - she started out as a graphic designer, then kind of fell into casting by working with Lord Snowdon and other amazing photographers, then through that fell into styling, and so forth - she never set out saying 'I want to be a stylist', she just did what she enjoyed every day, always grabbed new opportunities, got a bit lucky, and so has had a really exciting and varied career. She also admitted to being a complete control freak and never relinquishing control over her projects - hence why she still runs around like a mad woman when she cuould employ 'people' to do what she does.

Gail Gallie was equally interesting - she was behind the labour 1997 campaign, (which proved to be successful), and then moved on to become the head of marketing and events at Radio 1. Which must have been such a great job! She was also behind setting up the Electric Proms too, which was a brilliant idea. I think she ended up moving on to be the head of marketing and events for over a third of the BBC in the end. Crazy stuff.

She then moved on to working on the development and fundraising at the Roundhouse in Camden (if you've never been there, it's a really great venue, lots of nice exposed brick and glass stairways etc). From there I think she worked more freelance and now runs her own campaigns agency, GallieGodfrey as a partnership. That's one varied career.

To read about all the Immersion sessions so far, click here.

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